Alzheimer's (Dementia) Disease Responsible Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1381 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

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Hypertension precedes congestive heart failure in between 75% and 90% of heart failure cases.

While Alzheimer's is responsible for the most severe cases of dementia, including a progressive loss of memory and intellectual function, it does not appear to be the cause of congestive heart failure in its victims. However, research shows that CHF could be caused by dementia.

Dementia can cause the heart to lose some of its blood-pumping ability, as can hypertension (Davis, 1997). Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure by 200%, compared with those who do not have hypertension. In addition, the degree of risk appears directly related to the severity of the high blood pressure.

Persons with dementia have approximately a two- to eightfold greater risk of heart failure than those without dementia. Part of the risk comes from dementia' association with other heart failure risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. However, the disease process in dementia also damages the heart muscle.

A single risk factor may be sufficient to cause heart failure, but a combination of factors dramatically increases the risk. Advanced age adds to the potential impact of any heart failure risk.

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Finally, genetic abnormalities contribute to the risk for certain types of heart disease, which in turn may lead to heart failure. However, in most instances, a specific genetic link to heart failure has not been identified.

When the left ventricle is unable to pump blood out of the left atrium, or when one or more of the heart valves becomes leaky, blood can clog up into the lungs (AHA). When this happens, the lungs become congested with fluid, making it difficult to breathe and interfering with the movement of oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream.

Term Paper on Alzheimer's (Dementia) Disease Responsible for Assignment

This can result in shortness of breath with exertion. Many people wake up at night short of breath when they suffer from CHF. This is especially dangerous for Alzheimer's victims, whose lack of memory and cognizance prevents them from dealing with the disease.

Conclusion

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly and is the fourth leading cause of death in developed nations. About 70% of dementias are due to Alzheimer's disease.

As a person ages, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease rises significantly. The frequency of Alzheimer's among 60-year-olds is about one percent. This incidence doubles approximately every five years. It is estimated that as many as two-thirds of those in their nineties suffer from some form of dementia.

There are over 100,000 deaths per year related to Alzheimer's disease (Davis, 1997). Four million people and their families suffer from this disease. Alzheimer's disease leads to death within an average of eight years after diagnosis, the last three years of which are typically spent in an institution.

Alzheimer's-like symptoms can be manifested by a variety of different diseases including congestive heart failure.

Increasing evidence indicates the risk factors for congestive heart disease, including high blood pressure, diabetes, excess weight, high cholesterol and lack of exercise, also may play a role in Alzheimer's disease. However, evidence is inconclusive that Alzheimer's disease is responsible for CHD.

Still, Alzheimer's patients may be more likely to die from CHD, simply because they cannot deal with it on their own. Heart failure is no longer an untreatable disorder. In modern times, there are many important and effective measures that can be used to improve the symptoms, and ultimately the survival, of patients with congestive heart failure.

However, it is important to understand what is going on, and for the patient to participate in the care of this condition. Alzheimer's patients often are unable to do this and the condition can result in death.

Bibliography

Coats, A.J.S Syndrome of Chronic Heart Failure: Origin of Symptoms. In P.A. Poole-Wilson, et al. (Eds.), Heart Failure. Churchill Livingstone, Inc., 1997.

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias: Lesson 1 - Overview of Dementia. http://www.internetltc.com/az_lesson1.html.

American Heart Association Web Site. www.aha.com.

Davis, Helen. Alzheimer's: The Answers You Need. Elder Books, 1997.

Cluff, P.J. Alzheimer's disease. American Journal of Alzheimer's Care and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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